Happy New Year! This is the first episode of Nailed It! for the New Year, and if you’re looking at your credit card statements trying to figure out how much you spent while in a sugar and alcohol fueled holiday daze, well, this is the episode for you!

Let’s talk about Credit.

So how are you guys at managing money? This gif pretty much sums up my abilities:

Honestly, I am getting better at it as I age. Only because I am coming to terms with the fact that the probability of me marrying an NFL athlete is getting slimmer and slimmer. How sad is it that I am older than most of the starting lineup?

Anyway, moving on…

We talk about a lot of super complex financial concepts here at tastytrade,

...But as I was searching for a topic for the episode, I learned that the most basic financial transactions are not an option for a shocking number of Americans.

Twenty-five million people in this country don’t have bank accounts. Just let that sink in. The very first thing that you probably remember from grade school after learning to read, and that taking naps in the middle of the day is a bomb-ass move, is that you get a piggy bank and then you take that piggy bank to a regular bank and you get a bank account.

For the first time ever, I decided to forgo Nailed It’s “cold open sketch” in order to do a more “documentary style” intro. I’m still working the kinks out, but I thought it would be interesting to film in the neighborhood where I actually live to see how fundamentally flawed access to low-cost banking really is.

Also, shout out to my camera guy Garrett, farm kid from Michigan, who has never been to the south side of Chicago. After getting hollered at “Yo dude, make me famous,” he handled it like a pro.

One thing that got cut from the final edit was a scene at Walmart (my actual Walmart, yeah I know I shouldn’t shop there, but they create jobs and bread is like 79 cents there).

When we went to get the pre-paid debit card there, their entire money order system was down and no one could cash checks or send money.

Imagine your whole ability to conduct financial transactions being based on infrastructure that is built by Walmart. Walmart, the same company that has to routinely police their stores because fights keep breaking out there.

It’s probably easier to pay people in Patti LaBelle pies since the price of those is going through the roof. Pattiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Bitch, I bought you a pie!!!

Anyway, you can check out all the rules and regulations of a Walmart pre-paid credit card here:

Walmart Prepaid Debit Card Regulations

For me, the Chase Liquid debit card was the easiest to use. (Chase Liquid Card Review here)

I opened the account for the purpose of managing funds for the tastytrade toy drive.

I didn’t want donated money going into my personal account because I would totally be on a beach by now and sad kids all around Chicago would only have a photo of me on a jetski.

But as I illustrate in the piece, it took over half an hour to sign up for Chase Liquid and I needed two forms of ID. Which is very hard for a lot of people to come up with. New York is having problems with just one form of ID for those trying to open accounts.

Banks Reject New York ID, Leaving Many Unbanked

Also, that is my regular bank and they looked up my current account including balances and what not, but I was told that didn’t have an effect. It was only after extensive research that I even knew this was an option at my own bank! I can only imagine the apprehension one would feel walking into a bank where one does not have an account and then trying to go through this process.

And that right there is why you should care about this episode. The majority of us are involved in the American banking system whether through credit cards, payday lenders, or even our student loans. I wanted to show you guys how our penalty based system is hurting more people than it’s helping. But some very real strides are being made to help more people get back on track.

When I screened it for Tom, he was like, “Yeah, I learned a lot, but I don’t really get it.” And that actually made me happy. He’s not supposed to get it. He’s a zillionaire who pays for everything in cash and doesn’t have to think strategically about which bills to pay. He’ll never need to get an “advance” on a paycheck to make ends meet, and he’s never done the delicate dance of telling a student loan debt collector that this month’s payment might be a bit late. Unless of course the market goes up 1000, then he’s screwed.

But this is for the 90 million Americans who use alternative financial services and products and for the 40 million Americans who are hobbled by student loan debt. The credit struggle facing America is real, but there are still things we can do to fix it.

Can anyone loan me 1 million dollars?

Wanna see more Nailed It! episodes? Go to our tastytrade archives here! And, if you have ideas for future Nailed It! segments, leave them below in the comments or reach out to support@tastytrade.com.